Commonweal's Paul Moses counters Weigel:
To say that sexual abuse in other churches or other sectors of society does not get the same media attention misses the point. The issue isn’t that Catholic priests are allegedly prone to commit sexual abuse, but that a small percentage of them were freed to do so, again and again, due to gross mismanagement, secrecy and lack of accountability on the part of church authorities. However dated most of the sexual abuse cases are, this story still calls out to be covered because some of those who failed to stop repeat abusers remain in positions of authority.
It's not just the crime - about the most horrific there is and treated as the most despicable by most prison inmates - it's the cover-up! And the fact that the men who concocted the cover-up were never held truly accountable, never prosecuted, and, in one case, elevated to the papacy!
This is why the developments of the last two weeks have been so earth-shattering. Because they reveal that one of the countless bishops and archbishops who treated child-rape as a possible embarrassment for the church and a problem for the priest - rather than as a horrifying betrayal, crime and danger to children and families - now runs the whole show. So not only is he part of the problem, his refusal to concede that he was part of the problem compounds the problem.
This is about trust and minimal moral accountability. Minimal. What responsibility does the Pope have for the subsequent child rapes committed by the priest he reassigned? How many violated children does he have on his conscience? And how can responsibility for and complicity in those crimes - those indelible wounds in the souls of children - be dismissed, however many years later, as "petty gossip"?
Catholics are being asked move on from the fact that the Pope himself personally let a child-molester go on to rape other children. Personally, I can no more move on from that fact without some accountability than I can from the fact that the president of the United States authorized the brutal torture of human beings.
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